Position Statement – 2022
“Good Cause” Eviction
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) supports the “Good Cause” Eviction bill introduced in the Senate. This bill will amend the Real Property Law to prohibit evictions by a landlord without good cause, empowering tenants and preventing arbitrary evictions.
This bill adds a new Article 6-A to the Real Property Law which specifies necessity for good cause and grounds for removal of tenants. “Good cause” for removal includes situations where the tenant is substantially violating the tenancy and not curing the violation so long as the violation was not created to circumvent the new article; the tenant is committing a nuisance or maliciously damaging the premises; the tenant is using the premises for illegal purposes; and failure to pay rent, provided the rent was not increased to an unreasonable amount. There is a rebuttable presumption of unreasonable rent increase if the rent is increased within a calendar year by three percent or one and a half times the annual percentage change in Consumer Price Index. While the relationship between tenant and landlord historically has been one of disproportionate power in favor of the landlord, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this relationship. Currently, New York State is facing an unprecedented level of eviction proceedings. Many lessees are women, particularly mothers of color, who have little to no housing options or cannot afford the costs associated with moving to a new property. With nowhere else to turn most are then forced to pay exorbitant rent, well beyond their income levels, or else face eviction. In addition to the landlord’s tactic of raising rent to two or three times the original rent, landlords are also turning off heat and water and refusing to make repairs to premises like replacing front doors or patching holes in dry wall, hoping to create uninhabitable conditions for families and forcing them to move out. The Good Cause Eviction bill will eliminate those strategies traditionally utilized by landlords to force tenants to move out or face eviction, giving more power to tenants and decreasing litigation regarding frivolous housing proceedings.
WBASNY has a long and honored role in making life better for women and children in our world, by advocating for equality and fair treatment. The Association has long been at the forefront of changing laws in the areas of domestic violence, in achieving equity in marital dissolution, in achieving fairness in custody decisions, in the initiative against crimes of sexual violence and in the initiative against sexual discrimination in employment, and now supporting legislation to protect women and children in this housing crisis. WBASNY will continue to be a powerful force to affect policy change on issues affecting women and children. Our mission commits us to address and support legislation which advocates for change for women and children throughout the state and promotes the fair and equal administration of justice for all. With over 4,000 members strong, WBASNY speaks as one voice to advocate for equal access to justice for women and children both here in the State of New York and beyond.